Can you tell I love being in costume?
Given that it's Halloween, I thought this would be the perfect post to share on a day dedicated to dressing up! I am currently in rehearsals for Opera Omaha's production of Madama Butterfly as Kate Pinkerton, and I wanted to share with you the process of becoming this character.
Kate Pinkerton is a small but pivotal role in the opera: after Madama Butterfly is left by her husband, Ben Pinkerton, and gives birth to his son, Pinkerton and his new wife, Kate, return to take Butterfly's child. Kate is a complicated character. Is she an innocent bystander, a woman who just found out that her husband had previously married, impregnated, and left this young Japanese geisha, or is she a willing participant, a woman willing to steal another woman's child? After thinking and learning about Kate's character, I think she is badly misinformed. She views Butterfly with pity and looks down upon her life - and she thinks she's doing Pinkerton's child a favor by bringing him away from Japan. It's a horrible, disgusting worldview but one that makes sense for the time period in which this opera takes place. And she is also angry, desperate after realizing that she herself can't have children and that her husband had never told her about this incredibly important part of his life. And so she hates this world that brings both pain and hope in the form of a child into her life.
This entire production was designed by Jun Kaneko, a wonderful artist who lives in Omaha. He has created a beautifully warm and modern production with bright colors and patterns. Of course, Kate's is the opposite. Kate's costume is really fascinating because it describes her character visually. The color scheme - black and white - is how Kate views the world. There is no room for grey. The angles in the vest reflect her harshness, as well. I just love that her costume is a twist of an early 1900s outfit - she's the only character in the opera to wear an outfit that really places her in time. I think the shoes are the staple that really look late Victorian, and I'm kind of obsessed with them! They are actually pretty comfortable and I think they would look great in a modern context.
The process of becoming Kate is a fun one. First, I put on my shoes. All of those buttons are real, so I have to do them up before I put on my hoop skirt so I can actually reach my feet. Then I put on a beautiful undershirt made of some sort of satin fabric. It zips up in the back because there is no stretch. After that, we put on the blouse - it has about a million snaps, so my dresser helps me do them up. Then I step into the hoop skirt, which I think must weigh about 30 pounds because of all of the fabric. It is stunning and I sort of wish I could wear it everyday! We finish off by putting on the vest and belt, a beautiful asymmetric piece that I think makes the costume so unique.
Then I head over to hair and makeup. The wonderful makeup and hair designer pins up my hair and puts on a wig cap, then does my makeup (I'm even wearing false lashes)! Then we put on the wig, and I am ready to go.
None of this could happen without all of the wonderful people working backstage making this all possible. So huge thanks to them!
What are you wearing for Halloween? Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to get your tickets for Madama Butterfly - I'll see you all there!
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I think it's time for a new series, don't you? I decided that it's time to start a "Classic Girl's Guide," showing you how to dress when you want to be a classic sort of woman.
This thought came to me as I put on this outfit and realized that most people wouldn't get this dressed up ever, let alone for every day life. But I love getting dressed up, and putting on heels and a blazer is 100% more fun to me than putting on a pair of sweatpants and slippers (depending on the day, of course!).
So I thought I'd begin this series with a situation most women are faced with: Casual Friday at the office. What do you wear? What is appropriate, and what's too dressed up or down?
Well, I'd like to begin with this: I'd always opt for too dressed up in a work environment than too dressed down. In a more casual environment, that situation might be flipped, but when you're in a workplace, you always want to look like you've put in too much effort, not too little. So here's my philosophy: keep the outfit dressed up and choose one piece that's more casual. Let's look at this outfit more closely to see what I mean.
The basis of my outfit was this pair of high-waisted black jeans. I think that Casual Fridays are meant for a good pair of jeans, and this pair is particularly nice because of the fit. Now, because I'd decided to wear a pair of casual jeans, I knew that I wanted to keep everything else more formal and office-appropriate.
I decided to wear one of my favorite new jackets from Club Monaco. It pretty much goes with anything, which is fantastic, and it's got that unique flair with the color-blocking of the grey and off-white. Wearing a jacket or blazer dresses up any normal outfit and gives it that extra level of professionalism that always looks great in an office environment. If I have one major recommendation for your wardrobe, it's get a great blazer that you love wearing. It will make such a big difference with the littlest bit of effort!
After establishing the crux of my outfit - the jeans and the jacket - I threw on two colorful items: my shoes and my sweater. I bought this sweater in New York at a boutique and I love the detailing along the neckline - it's so unique! It's got that little bit of extra flair that I love, and it makes the entire outfit standout. The color also inspired my lipstick, so it worked perfectly. Then, for a little added sass, I chose these heels. They are so comfortable and they go with the top because they are both saturated in color, even if they don't match. There's a difference between matching and going together, and these do the latter.
The final touches were putting my hair into a chic bun and putting on a fun pair of hoop earrings. I love expressing myself through my accessories, so the shoes, the earrings, and the updo really gave the whole outfit that extra oomph.
So to summarize:
1. Wear one casual piece of clothing, usually jeans or a casual top.
2. Keep the rest of your outfit more formal, with heels and a blazer.
4. Use color to bring fun into your outfit.
3. Accessorize to your heart's content!
And there you have it, lovely friends! What do you wear on Casual Friday? What do you think of my new series? What would you like to see next? Let me know in the comments down below!
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Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!